You Can Teach An Older Dog New Tricks

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You Can Teach An Older Dog New Tricks

by Don W Sloan

Training older dogs is no different than training younger dogs - well, there IS one difference: you need more patience.

The old adage about teaching an old dog new tricks has no meaning in the world of dog training. I have seen cases in which older dogs - dogs in their double-digit years - become dog obedience poster dogs!

It all depends, like I said, on how much patience you have. Repetition and clearly communicated commands are the key!

In some rare cases, where the older dog has been allowed free rein as the leader of your family unit "pack", you may find some stubbornness and "passive aggressiveness" to the training.

But for the most part, the commands for training older dogs are the same as for younger ones.

The Sit command is an excellent indicator of how well the older dog will respond to training. With a pinch collar in place around the dog's neck, pull up with your right hand (reaching across your body) and push down with your left hand on the dog's rump.

This should create an irresistible position for the dog. When training older dogs, be aware that you may well lose your standing as their best friend for a few days until the order of command changes. There may even be a bit of doggie "sulking."

But the repetition, coupled with five- to ten-minute training sessions should take most of the control battles out of the picture.

In the end, both you and your older dog will reap the rewards of a closer bond!

Don Sloan is an experienced dog trainer for the Humane Society. For more information, please visit my website at

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